By Kate Louise Javier
“He’s a cancer patient but he died not because of his illness but because he was tortured by the police.”
This was how a brother of a former overseas Filipino worker (OFW) described the fate of his 35-year-old sibling diagnosed with lymphoma cancer.
Aarun Rafael ended up writing a post in Facebook as he seeks justice for the death of his younger brother Allan.
“When we visited him last Sunday, he was still strong. He said he was beaten up in the chest, slapped and hurt by the police so he will admit using illegal drugs, even as he had just undergone an operation,” Aarun wrote in a facebook post dated August 7.
“But yesterday (August 6), we were shocked when they told us that my brother is already dead,” he added.
‘Legitimate, legal arrest
Manila Police District-Homicide chief Senior Insp. Rommel Anicete disclosed that Rafael was arrested together with his boardmate Sherwin Angeles along Claro M. Recto Avenue on August 2.
Emphasizing legal arrest, Anicete said members of Barbosa Police Community Precinct apprehended the two men for “breaching of peace,” as the suspects were reportedly having a commotion.
Arresting officers claimed that they seized two sachets of shabu from the suspects and were inquested on August 4.
However, Aarun denied the allegations.
According to him, Rafael told him that he was on board a motorcycle when he was arrested at a checkpoint. He was on his way to fetch his wife in Malate, Manila. The police officers allegedly got Rafael’s watch and was instructed to withdraw cash.
“When he arrived at the precinct, he was forced to admit that he’s a drug user because he looks like an addict according to them. Of course, he’s thin because he was undergoing chemotherapy for his cancer,” Aarun said.
The family of Rafael believed that there was a foul-play behind the death of their relative.
Aarun said they saw blood in Rafael’s feet and wound in his neck.
The MPD however denied allegations of police brutality as the cause of Rafael’s death.
A report reaching MPD director Chief Supt. Rolando Anduyan said Rafael suffered difficulty in breathing and vomited with blood around 6 a.m. on August 6, prompting the duty jail officers to rush him to Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center.
According to Anicete, medico-legal report showed that the detainee died due to cardio-respiratory arrest, saying there were no signs of external injuries.
“Prior to his arrest, he’s already sick. We are aware of that because he told us,” Anicete said.
Anicete said the police even insisted that Rafael would stay at the Barbosa precinct due to his condition while Angeles was transferred at the MPD-Station 3.
Without their consent, Aaron said they found his brother’s body already embalmed in a funeral parlor.
“It was just half-embalmed to preserve the body. It didn’t affect the autopsy conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation,” Anicete explained.
Meanwhile, Anicete said investigation is now ongoing to shed more light on the case, saying charges will be filed against the involved officers if they saw lapses.
“Right now, we don’t see any lapses from our men,” he said.